Thursday, May 3, 2012

What if...?

When our back is against the wall (individually or corporately) it seems that 99% of our attempts to relieve the pressure or escape the situation are rooted in fear. What if they don't like the decision I make? What if they don't like ME? What if I lose their respect? What if...? Interestingly, we never find Jesus resorting to those kind of questions when his back was against the wall. Conflict, pain, loss, and abandonment were regular occurrences for him, and through it all he seemed to be asking a different What if...? question, one rooted in love: WHAT IF MY FATHER HAD HIS WAY WITH THIS RELATIONSHIP OR SITUATION? Jesus' M.O. was one of seeking the will of his Father (because he LOVED him!) even when the going got tough, which seemed to be most of the time. This posture of loving obedience led Jesus into times of solitude - to pray for his Father's will to be done even when it would cost him his life - and it also led him into intense conflicts where grace and truth needed to be lovingly proclaimed (in both word and deed). From this it seems that Jesus' courage came from knowing that it wasn't his own will that he was carrying out, rather it was his Father's will. So, what situations or relationships are adding weight to your soul? What do you sense your loving Father's will is for them? How does his will differ from your own will and what desires, attitudes, or even beliefs do you need to repent of in order to align yourself with his will? As you live in the ebb and flow of relationships and organizations, may God's desire for you and those you connect with become your desire as well.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Prayer for transformation

Father, we are in desperate need of transformation, as people, as churches, as communities, and as nations. Our sins are becoming too heavy to carry. Our divisions are too numerous to count. Our arrogance continues to blind us from seeing and hearing you. By the power of your Spirit, free us from the sins, temptations, fears, and systems that distract us from the life you created us to live. We humbly surrender ourselves to you today, and profess with our hearts, minds, and lungs that we are unable to change on our own. Guide us toward a posture of repentance so that we may once again turn to face you and gratefully receive your gift of life.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Missional Prayer: Loose Grip

God, we confess that at times we have held on too tightly to our traditions and have missed out on the fuller life you invite us into. Gently pry our fingers back so that we hold onto our programs, our structures, and our strategies with a loose grip and instill in us a desire to grab hold of your dreams for our neighborhoods, cities, nations, and world. As we seek your will, inspire us with your creative spirit to develop fresh and meaningful habits and practices for our shared journey with you.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Missional Giving

With so many churches and leaders attempting to be "missional" by way of stepping outside their buildings and serving the "least of these" (a very good thing indeed) I want us to be mindful of Jesus' warning found in the beginning of Matthew 6:

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' in front of others, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly, I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let you your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be done in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

May you, as you grow in generosity, give in secret and keep the stories of your good deeds offline and out of the media. There's a greater reward awaiting you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Prayer for all Believers - adapted from John 17:20-21

Father, we pray that those who profess to believe in your Son Jesus will demonstrate our oneness by finding ourselves in you and by actively living out your purposes together. We ask that you illuminate what we have in common and dissolve our destructive and useless differences. May our capacity for forgiveness increase! Capture our hearts and minds with your dreams for your creation. Turn our desires into your desires. Change our thinking about what is important to reflect what is important to you and equip us with whatever you deem necessary for us to courageously join you in your mission.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Prayer for Desire

God, we confess that our desires have not always been in line with what you desire. Search our hearts and reveal any desires in us that, if satisfied, will not lead us to a deeper love for you or a greater surrender to your mission in the world. Reveal to us a deeper knowledge of who you are and what your heart desires. Fill us with desires for things that are good, pure, beautiful, truthful, lovely, and just. Lead us by your Spirit into activities that demonstrate your heart for the world, and in doing so, may our hearts become like yours.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Praying for Civility

In a recent interview on the controversy kicked up by Rob Bell's new book, Love Wins, Eugene Peterson offers a challenge to all who feel the need to inject their two cents:

"There’s so much polarization in the evangelical church that it’s a true scandal. We’ve got to learn how to talk to each other and listen to each other in a civil way."

Father, search our hearts and reveal any pride or overly-judgmental attitudes in us. Shine your light on the deeper relational issues we have as a Church and heal us by your gentle and merciful Spirit. Remind us again that we are called to be like you and that our interactions with one another are putting you on display to the world around us. Forgive us, God, for our immature actions, attitudes, and words. Continue to work in us and among us, and give us eyes and ears to know how you are inviting us to grow next. Thank you for your faithfulness to us in the midst of our distractions and disagreements.